Jonathan Horton Signs Endorsement Agreement with GK Elite Sportswear

GK Elite Sportswear, L.P., the most recognized manufacturer of gymnastics apparel in the world, announces an athlete representation agreement with American Olympic Champion Jonathan Horton.

Jonathan Horton proved himself to be the most dominant force in Men's Gymnastics in the US last summer at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Jonathan earned a Silver medal on his signature routine, the high bar, as well as a Bronze medal with his fellow USA team mates in the team competition.

This agreement is designed to help Horton continue to develop his skills as one of the premier male gymnasts in America today.

"GK has been outfitting top athletes since 1989," said GK Elite President and founder Sallie Weaver. "Jonathan is certainly one of the most recognized and most promising athletes in U.S. Men's gymnastics today."

"Medaling in Beijing this year at the Olympics was a dream come true," remarked Horton. "I have always chosen to compete in GK. The fit of the apparel is so important to my performance and wearing GK gives me one less thing to be concerned about! I am so proud to endorse a company who truly cares about the athletes and demonstrates genuine concern for their performance and needs"

GK is the world's leading supplier of gymnastics apparel and is recognized around the world for superior variety, quality, fit and service. GK is proud to have been chosen by adidas® to manufacture the US National Team Competitive apparel for USA Gymnastics since 2000 and is the sole producer of adidas® brand gymnastics apparel in the USA. Based in Reading, Pennsylvania, Elite Sportswear, L.P., the company behind the GK brand, continues its commitment to American-made quality and continuous innovation in designs for Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Dance, and Drill Team apparel. For more information about GK Elite visit or contact Andrew Foss at 610-921-1469.

For more information on Jonathan Horton visit

Lands' End launches sun-protective clothing line

Retailer Lands’ End is launching a new line of sun-protective clothing in response to customer concerns about the effects of the sun on their skin and health.

The Sun.Life line targets the entire family with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating of 30 or 50 - which blocks 96.7% or 97.5% of the sun's harmful UV rays respectively.

"Sun.Life is something our customers asked us for, simply because they were worried about what the sun was doing to their skin while they were enjoying outdoor activities with their families," said Alan Kirk, senior vice president of global sourcing for Lands' End.

The collection also includes breathability, wicking and antimicrobial features, but has been styled in bright colours and patterns along with cotton-rich fabric blends so that they look like normal, everyday clothes.

"The biggest benefit to our customers is that the Sun.Life collection offers all the functional benefits normally found in true camping or hiking gear, but can now be found in regular, comfortable styles that can be worn every day, all day long," Kirk added.

Maria Sharapova in Cole Haan spring ads

Maria Sharapova is the new lead collaborator and face of Cole Haan Sporting, a new clothing collection for Spring 2009, rooted in sport and remixed with fashion.

The Spring 2009 global launch of Cole Haan Sporting includes men’s and women’s footwear and accessories, and features the three-time Grand Slam champion.

Cole Haan Sporting stakes out fresh territory with a new, dynamic pairing of Cole Haan’s authentic craftsmanship and Nike’s sports innovation. The collection introduces new technologies like Flywire which build on the successful Nike Air franchise by recasting them into fashion-forward designs.

This lifestyle fashion collection will encompass day to evening silhouettes in both the footwear and accessories categories.

“Maria Sharapova embodies the blend of fashion and sport that makes Cole Haan Sporting unique,” said Cole Haan Chief Executive Officer James Seuss. “We created this collection as the foundation to a dynamic lifestyle - weaving Cole Haan’s history of craftsmanship with Nike’s tradition of high-performance innovation.”

Maria Sharapova, 21, is a former world number one who has a longstanding passion for style. She will step into the role of collaborator for the Fall 2009 season.

“Cole Haan Sporting proves that fashion and technology can work together to change the way women think about and wear sport-inspired product,” said Sharapova. “I look forward to working with Cole Haan to bring new innovations to this leading fashion brand with such a rich history.”

For Spring 2009, Cole Haan Sporting will embody sport style with a collection inspired by nautical, court, track, and golf. The women’s footwear collection includes elevated wedges, chic flats and sleek sandals. Signature men’s styles include the brand’s iconic boat shoe and edgy lace-ups in bold color palettes paired with classic neutrals.

This new collection will continue to showcase Nike Air, an innovation that has enabled Cole Haan to redefine luxurious style and comfort. Outside, the styles are pure Cole Haan, luxurious and fashion-forward; inside, they share Nike’s innovative technology that debuted in Beijing.

The accessory collection encompasses a range of silhouettes from a tennis racquet bag to a versatile duffle. Continuing to weave style with innovation, the accessories will be created from recycled plastic bottles and will be trimmed in vegetable chrome-free leather.

High-tech snow wear warm, safe, stylish

In the minus5 Ice Lounge at the Mandalay Bay, a dozen or so people, most of them attendees at the annual SnowSports Industries America trade show last week in Las Vegas, are standing around a bar made of solid ice, sipping vodka from tumblers carved from ice. No one's brave enough to sit on the ice sofas.

Still, in spite of the sub-zero temperature, the guests are feeling toasty because they're wearing Mountain Hardwear jackets and vests with individual Ardica heat packs tucked inside.

Battery-powered, rechargeable and weighing less than a pound, the packs provide on-demand heat for up to eight hours. Several of the Ice Lounge testers said they could see the portable heaters coming in handy during ski trips and other on-snow activities. (Another 200 people are demo-ing the jackets in noncocktail-fueled settings around the country, according to Hap Klopp, Ardica's sales director, who was the CEO and founder of North Face.)

The Ardica-Mountain Hardwear collaboration was one of thousands of products making their debut at the annual SIA show last week. Next year, the show moves to Denver.

The items ordered here by retailers will be in stores this fall. Apparel accounted for more than 40 percent of the $1.875 billion spent in the snow sports market from August to December of 2008, according to SIA research.

While sales were down 3 percent, the category did better than the rest of the retail industry. Snowboard clothing, shell parkas, fleece and one-piece suits showed increases in sales, as did such accessories as hats and gloves.

Fashion is always a high point of SIA, and the trade show kicked off with a snow style preview on mannequins from 28 manufacturers.

A quick look at the trends and it was clear that bright colors and printed fabrics will continue to make a statement on the slopes. But beyond all the neon shades and profusion of patterns, there was an increased focus on safety and function; more options in wearable technology; an emphasis on eco-friendly fabrics and manufacturing methods; and a blurring between what to wear on the slopes and on the street.

Here are some highlights:

Avalanche awareness: A number of outerwear lines now feature reflective patches from Recco. Designed as an additional tool to help search-and- rescue teams reach avalanche victims quickly, Recco detectors use harmonic radar to track signals sent by beacons and Recco reflectors. The company's new handheld detector can reduce the time it takes search and rescue crews to locate people trapped in snow.

Reflectors about the size of a small Band-Aid are being used by companies like Italian-based Bailo, which is putting them on jackets designs. Other manufacturers are adding reflectors to helmets, protection gear and even boots.

The company's website says the Recco system is being used by more than 600 search-and-rescue organizations worldwide, including those in such Colorado resorts as Keystone, Vail and Telluride.

Stand out guys: It didn't seem like too long ago when snowboard clothing had to be earth-toned and drab to be cool. Then the neon revolution occurred and all was bright in the terrain park. That continues, with clothes for male riders showing innovation in both design and fabrics. We liked the flocked velvet feel of Burton's men's multicolored jacket and Armada's new outerwear line. In both: lime green pants for guys who crave attention.

Snowboarding's "It" girl: Gretchen Bleiler's second collection of snow wear and lifestyle clothing for Oakley continues to be some of the sweetest design on the mountain.

Her fans will like such details as a little chain on a chest pocket, signature lion-motif buttons and a hip-length belt on the Mane jacket; her slouchy beanies; color combos like olive and purple; and environmentally friendly pieces like the Eco Storm jacket, made of recycled fabric, and tops made of organic cotton and bamboo.

Bleiler also has her own lip balm. Mission Product Skincare has come out with athlete-endorsed lip and skin care products and Bleiler's Sweet Vanilla flavored balm with SPF 15 is among the newest. (Also check out Melo Mint, named for Carmelo Anthony.) The products, $3.99, are sold at GNC, Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker stores, among others.

Wearable technology: Being able to change playlists on your iPod, grab a phone call or turn up the heat in your jacket with a touch of a gloved hand to a keypad on your coat is becoming more prevalent and more affordable. Skullcandy teamed up with Sessions to provide tunes integrated to its Metallica jacket, $320.

Glove story: Women's hands get colder than men's, which is why Level Gloves created the Bliss collection. The line is designed in a shape which leaves more room for air to circulate, and materials include Gore-Tex breathable, waterproof membranes, and Primaloft isulation that's thick but lightweight.

Green: Taking cues from ready-to-wear, snow sports clothing is getting more eco-friendly. Obermeyer is using recycled polyester twill fabrics in some of its men's jackets, as well as fabrics in Encore, a woven polyester twill made of 48 percent recycled polyester. The company's eTEX Finley layering piece is made from a bamboo-polyester blend.

He thinks my helmet's sexy: Guys might want a macho- looking helmet, but women like things a little more girly, which is why Carrera's flower-bedecked model is sure to cause some double-takes. Other helmets with such feminine details as crystal trim and patterned chin flaps show that the headcovers can be both functional and feminine. Novelty motifs were also show by Nutcase, which did a plaid design and crazeeHeads, which showed whimsical cartoon-inspired helmet covers for kids.

Socks appeal: Socks don't get the credit they deserve for keeping feet warm and dry inside ski and snowboard boots. Manufacturers like EuroSocks have feet covered with Digits Silver Ski Socks, $34, an anatomically correct design made from antimicrobial fibers designed to keep feet odor- and bacteria-free. Labeled with a R or L for right and left so you get them on the correct feet, the socks have padded foot beds, elasticized arch suppport and padded heel cups.

Details, details: It's the little things that set outerwear apart for next season. Quilting — often multiple types on a single jacket, as shown by Skea — belts, grommets and studs and unusual snap treatments are among the ones that caught our eye. Asymmetrical zipper placement, form-fitting silhouettes and contrast printed linings are other things appearing in numerous lines.

Apres ski: When you look good on the mountain all day, there's no need to leave that style behind after the lifts close. Unadorned Uggs don't hold a candle to Australia Love Collective's line of sheepskin boots trimmed in fox fur and chains, ribbons and laces, $225-$425.

If funky is more your style, Rubber Duck has a full line of snow joggers and warm nylon boots. Some are a little "Napoleon Dynamite," others are plaid or in shiny finishes, $90 to $120.

Layered effect: Sure you can pull on any old turtleneck, but why not make the piece you wear under your parka more interesting? Boulder-based Neve's Prima Belle collection of knits is in a silk-merino wool and Lyrcra blend and features retro ski motifs, animal prints and polka dots, $80-$120.